As much as Hollywood might be straining to make video game movies succeed right now with adaptations of Hitman, Assassin's Creed, Warcraft and many more on the way, video games have long been striving to capture a little bit of Hollywood magic. The Call of Duty series in particular has long been trying to recreate the feel of a Hollywood action movie by hiring screenwriters like David S. Goyer and Paul Haggis and filling the casts with big names like Idris Elba, Sam Worthington and Gary Oldman.
Sledgehammer Games' upcoming title Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will feature voice acting celebrity Troy Baker (whose voice has also been featured in several other Call of Duty games) as solo protagonist Private Jack Mitchell, who is recruited into the private military organization Atlas and pays a heavy price in the line of duty. Atlas is run by the power-hungry Jonathan Irons, who is played by Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's Hollywood actor du jour, Kevin Spacey.
The Call of Duty franchise has been the target of criticism for some time now, with both gamers and critics complaining that the annual release schedule has caused the series to stagnate. Speaking in an interview with VentureBeat, Sledgehammer co-founder Glen Schofield described Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare as "a new intellectual property" within the franchise, and Michael Condrey explained that it's actually far more ambitious than any Hollywood action movie.
"With three years and a new engine and a new generation of hardware and a new brand, you’ll see this is not the same old Call of Duty. We had the people, the resources, and the time. This has the scale and the scope of the equivalent of four Hollywood movies in it. It has hundreds of hours of multiplayer gameplay. It has full cooperative mode. It takes an army of industry vets to create this kind of content."
Schofield and Condrey have previously boasted that Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's story took two and a half years to write. It starts with (naturally) a terrorist attack that cripples nations worldwide and forces them to lean on Atlas for military support. As the recently released story trailer revealed, Atlas' international status means that Irons considers it to be outside the control of the American government - or any government, for that matter.
In the interview, Condrey said that movies like Black Hawk Down and narrative-driven games like The Last of Us were big inspirations for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, but Schofield added that the story isn't all about shooting people and causing big explosions.
"It’s not just a military story. It’s about friendship and working together with the guy in the fox hole. It’s personal stuff. Emotional times. It’s about life, family, pain, and loss. We made sure we didn’t have a nation-state as the enemy. Is it going to be China? Is it going to be North Korea? Who’s going to be fighting us? Ripped from the headlines, we saw the growth of the private military corporations in Iraq and Afghanistan. You play one guy through the game, Private Mitchell. He becomes a hardened veteran."
Schofield also repeated the now-familiar description of Mitchell as "an everyday guy," but fleshed him out a little more by saying that he is a patriot when he first signs up for the military. Of course, that might change on his road from new recruit to hardened veteran.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare releases November 4, 2014 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.